The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze is the eighth film in the The Land Before Time series. It was originally released direct-to-video on December 4, 2001. The plot focuses on what happens when winter strikes the Great Valley. A subplot revolves around the character Ducky feeling upset with her brother Spike, and the events which occur after Spike befriends a boy from a wandering Spiketail herd, while another focuses on Littlefoot's attempts to understand their teacher, Mr. Thicknose.
Although with limited merchandise, The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze proved to be much more of a critical success than had most of the prior straight-to-video sequels to the original The Land Before Time, and received many positive reviews, plus several award nominations.
Ducky is upset with her brother Spike, for keeping her awake at night with his snoring (called "sleep rumbling" by the characters), and for eating her treestars. She tells Cera about her feelings, and confides that she does not know how to express them, to which Cera agrees to teach her. At the same time, the children are attending a school of sorts, in which they are taught by an old Pachyrhinosaurus named Mr. Thicknose, who professes to have been everywhere and seen everything. Littlefoot is eagerly questioning all the topics they cover, to the old dinosaur's irritation, and blows the top when he startles Mr. Thicknose into running into a tree, upon which a melon falls on his head. Mr. Thicknose complains to Grandpa Longneck about Littlefoot's behaviour, and Grandpa Longneck, knowing Littlefoot meant no harm, gently explains to him why he must be more respectful to Mr. Thicknose.
Meanwhile, as Ducky gives Spike the cold shoulder, Spike meets and befriends a boy from a wandering Spiketail herd, who have recently arrived in the Great Valley. Ducky begins to miss Spike, as she watches him spend more and more time with this herd of his own species. One day, however, the entire Valley is surprised by an overnight snowfall (which the characters refer to as either "white sky sparkles" or "white ground sparkles"). While the children together have fun frolicking in the snow, the adults complain that Mr. Thicknose did not warn them about this sort of thing happening in the Valley, and suspect that he does not know as much as he claims.
As time wears on, the dinosaurs begin to notice the more horrific side to snowfall; the freezing temperatures and the lack of food growth. The spiketail herd offers to leave, as they consume more food than most species. The mother of Spike's new friend, Tippy, asks Mama Swimmer if she can take Spike along during the cold time, and Mama Swimmer decides that Spike should choose between staying in the valley, or leaving with them. Spike is unsure, so Ducky frustratedly tells him to go off. As he leaves, she immediately regrets her actions, and later sneaks away to follow the spiketail herd. When her friends find this out, they head off into the Mysterious Beyond to find her, but are interrupted by Mr. Thicknose, who tells them he will not let them go off there by themselves, and leaves with them. After several rough scrapes, including a chase from a sharptooth, and successfully finding Ducky, they come across a frozen pool of water, which they break by accident. Underneath the ice is warm water, and they notice that there is lush food nearby. While they relax in the water and feed, Mr. Thicknose confesses that most of his knowledge comes from secondary sources; he listened to the stories of the grownup travelers when he was a child, and in his adult years, he told those stories to the children in the valley.
Later, the group tries to contact the residents of the valley, to let them know about the safe haven they have found, but find that a snowfall has blocked them off from the valley. Ducky, remembering what Cera taught her, suggests that Cera get angry and riled up at the ground sparkles. Cera does so, and her enraged screaming causes the wall of snow to fall down, enabling the rest of the Great Valley herd to pass through.
Meanwhile, the Spiketail herd is starving, until Spike picks up the scent of the location the valley residents are in. He leads the spiketails there, and reunites with Ducky. However, after a few minutes, he falls into a deep part of the water, and as he is unable to swim, Mama Swimmer jumps in to save him. When she places him on dry ground again, Tippy's mother says that Spike should stay with his family, rather than her herd. Ducky promises to Spike that she will not get angry at him whenever he snores, ever again.
- John Ingle as Narrator/Cera's Dad
- Robert Guillaume as Mr. Thicknose
- Aria Noelle Curzon as Ducky
- Rob Paulsen as Spike/Spiketail Leader
- Thomas Dekker as Littlefoot
- Anndi McAfee as Cera
- Jeff Bennett as Petrie
- Tress MacNeille as Mama Swimmer/Mama Flyer
- Susan Krebs as Tippy's Mother/Clubtail
- Jeremy Suarez as Tippy
- Kenneth Mars as Grandpa Longneck/Hollowhorn
- Miriam Flynn as Grandma Longneck
- Frank Welker as Mountain Sharptooth
The songs are written by Michele Brourman and Amanda McBroom.
- The Mad Song
- The Lesson
- The music that plays in the background when the gang throws snowballs at each other is instrumental music from An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island and An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster.
- The music that plays when Littlefoot first sees the frozen sky water is called Snow, it is by Michael Tavera.
- Robert Guillaume, who voices Mr. Thicknose in this film, is famous for his role as Rafiki in The Lion King.
- This was the second time Spike has ever spoken; he shouts "Mama!" when he falls into the water.
- This was the first Land Before Time movie in which the closed captioning performer is the WGBH Media Access Group. This group was in the VHS version, but the DVD version used the same SDH captions as the previous sequels; this film was released before the first five sequels were released on DVD.
- This is the first film in the series which did not feature a Roman Numeral to state the number of the sequel, on the film's cover art for VHS and DVD, as the design of the front covers for the videos was changed. For later DVD releases the cover art design was changed to match.
- This was the first in the series to have shading digitally mapped onto the characters, as the result of a more advanced digital ink and paint system.
- This is one of only a few sequels in which the animators follow the classic sharptooth design from the original movie.
- Rica Matsumoto, the Japanese voice of Cera, is also the Japanese voice of Ash Ketchum on Pokémon.
- In Mr.Thicknoses flashback, once of the children he is talking to is a Triceratops with a color scheme almost identical to Trias. It could be possible that Mr. Thicknose also taught Tria when she was younger.
- This is the fourth film in which Ducky cries.
- When the Sharptooth is chasing Littlefoot and Cera up the snowy slope, it looks very similar to the Great Earthshake sequence from the first film; when the original Sharptooth is trying to get at the two as they are slipping into a chasam.
- The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze may have been the original inspiration for Thomas and the Magic Railroad because they were both released in 2000.
Character Debuts Edit
- Recurring characters:
- Mr. Thicknose
- Tippy's Mother
- Spiketail Herd
- Species Debuts: